The touch-screen grows up before our eyes

Remember when you thought your first Palm Pilot was the coolest device ever? Touch-screens have evolved light-years since then.

The Active Desk



Bill Buxton demonstrates "The Active Desk," a touch-screen device developed in 1992 at the University of Toronto. Buxton explains: "It used rear projection, and had a high-resolution stylus for input. What is easy to miss in the photo is the fact that I am working with two remote collaborators. Each has a presence by way of a small camera/monitor/speaker/microphone [you can see one in the photo]. The idea was that all three of us had a shared view of the design that I am shown working on. Fundamental to the idea, contrary to most desktop video, is that there should be a differentiation between person space and task space. Stated more simply, your face should not appear on the same surface as my work."

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